HomeLifestyleTheorizing of caste Question in India by Ambedkar

Theorizing of caste Question in India by Ambedkar

“Annihilation of the caste” it is the undelivered speech of B.R. Ambedkar which he had written in 1936. In this speech he rose his voice against the unaccountability in India and how the various dominated caste theorize the caste, and continue to practice the caste system in the society. The speech was prepared as the presidential address for the annual conference of a Hindu reformist group Jat-Pat Todak Mandal.

            Before moving in the process of theorizing let us have look on the structure of the Indian society. The caste in India is the social stratification of the society on the basis of Varna and jati where Varna classification is based on the occupation and jati (caste) is acquire from the birth. There are four Varna and thousands and thousands of jati. As per the Hindu sculpture it is mentioned that the Brahmin is born from the head of Brahma, Kshatriya from the arm Vishay from the thigh and the sudra from the lower portion of feet and which is not mentioned is the Ati shudra the untouchable. Their working have been ascribe as the different part of the body have different functioning, The Brahmin have to teach, Kshatriya have to protect and the Vaishya have to do business and sudra have to serve. In regard of this Ambedkar question to this statement and state the ill effect of the caste and its existence in the society while mahatma Gandhi argued that the Varna classification must exist in the society to maintain the smooth functioning of society therefor Ambedkar put the question against the various theory of caste as defined by the Vedas and Puranas.

Yovamanyet te moole hetushrashraya dwizah

sa sadhubhirbahirbahishkaryo nashtiko vedandikah

Vedas and smriti are the guided rule and norm for the Hindu they cannot follow anything apart from this even they cannot intemperate the Vedas and smriti it is punishable. In case if any conflict took place between any two smriti or Veda any one can be followed it is irrespective of the reason which it explain.

Shrutidwadham tu yatra syaptatra dharvarvudhau smirtau

‘It explain that if any conflict take place between shruti and sinriti, the shruti will prevail”but why? It dosent answer to this infact it dosent talks about the situation.

puranam manvo dharmah sango vedashikitsitam

agasidhani chatvari na hantavyani hetubhih

The Vedas and Smritis will deal with the matter of caste and Varna system in the society it will not affect the hindu. But this do not hold true and its ill effect can be seen in the today’s world latest example the incident which took place in Gujrat ( the Dalit were bitten by the cow protection group for skinning a dead cow).

As per Ambedkar the Indian society consist of four caste and further it is sub divide into sub class which maintain the hierarchal order defining one caste above the another or in other word it could be understood as the one is dominated by the other a vertical construct he further says about the caste on the basis of labor “it not the division of labor but the division of labors” I again put the example the industry where the tanning of skinning is done, cleaning of toilet is done by this low caste people.

            He points to the Shastra where it is mentioned that the Brahmin is appointed as the Guru of the three Varnas “varnanam bramhano garu” it is the job of Brahmin to teach other, which is irrespective of his qualification. This is his job which he gets from the birth, but why? So Ambedkar wanted the reform in the society. He talks about the social reform which is the way to the heaven. The political minded Hindu people say that   they can bring the change but the question arises up to what extent? When they are not equal with their countrymen only as they do not allow them to use public property, they do not allow them to drink water from the same pot, they do not allow there animal to graze in the common land then how this social reform will come, when the control is in the hand of political minded Hindu. How this reform is possible? Weather the reform must take place in the Hindu society or among the untouchable. When the Hindu minded people wanted the political power for not allowing them to wear good cloth not allowing them to have good food not allowing them to walk free on the road so, what kind of reform they want and how? Social reform is possible unless or until the political reform is done. Addressing to the Ferdinand Lassalle where he says “The constitution question are in the first instance not question of right but question of might. The actual constitution of a country has it existence only in actual condition of force which exists within the country”.

            Coming back to the above mentioned definition of caste as per Chaturvarna theory Ambedkar says that the caste in our society is the division of labor but it is not it is the division of labors even the division of labor is hierarchy in nature where one laborers is regarded as the above the other in term of work they do. The job in the Hindu society is hereditary, one has to carry it from one generation to another generation.it is very difficult for one to get out of his job in Hindu society it become the stigma for those who are attached to such a job which is considered as the low level of work. Talking about the ideal social organization by Arya Samajists is known as Chaturvarnya which is not based on birth but based on the guna (talent)  is derived from the Manu Smriti. The earlier meaning of Varna was on the basis of occupation but later it become rigid in the society and have taken the form of casteism in the hindu society and it is very difficult for one to get out of his job. Then he question to the Manu Smriti where men are only classified then what about the women it does not talk about the women of the society how they will be classified. It is the Manu Smriti where it is mentioned that the shudra must not acquire wealth because the other varna are there to provide education ,wealth, and protection but what will happen if they do not do so and suppress the shudra in which have been done. Education is the basic need protection is also the basic need. And the Manu smriti it does not talk about any such social right.


            Where some supporter of Hinduism says that the caste classification is to maintain the purity of the caste from the biological point of view where Ambedkar reply to this it is not to maintain the purity caste giving the reference of Mr D.R Bhandakar, he says that “there is hardly any Hindu which is pure” then again Ambedkar say that if he caste is eugenic in nature then the sub caste must also be eugenic in nature. The Hindu have always prevented the lower caste to improve their cultural level due to the rigidity of the caste.

Ambedkar says that the in Indian society the untouchable is not only being discriminated but they are the resource poor. Then he point out toward the rich of the indian society so called proletariat of Indian will they bring the change he says “it seem to me that the only thing that will move one man to take such an action is the feeling that other man with whom he is acting are actuated by feeling of equality and fraternity and above all justice” But further it is the fact the nobody will come together for this change of equalization of property because unless they know that after the revolution they all will become equal.  The caste has effected the ethic of the hindu it has killed the public sprit, it has destroyed the since of public charity the capacity to appreciate in a man apart from his caste does not exist in Hindu. Ambedkar says that have not Hindu committed treason against country in the interest of their caste.


After pointing out all the ill issue of caste then he says that this caste must be annihilated from the society, but question arise if this caste system is removed then what kind of ideal society that he wanted, he reply that a new society must be based on equality, liberty and fraternity. He says fraternity as an ideal social endosmosis in an ideal society there must be many interest consciously communicated and shared among each other. Fraternity is the name of democracy. While talking about liberty he says liberty is to perpetuate slavery, have the liberty for health that is right to health right to earn, and free to take any profession. He says equality as “a manpower is dependent upon physical heredity social inheritance or endowment in the form of parents care, education, accumulation of scientific knowledge, which enable the savage and finally on his own effort when he considered all this aspect then undoubtedly all men and women are unequal but he rise the question this inequality should exist because men are unequal. Equality must be maintained in the society because each one need each other when time comes but each one must be provided with the equal opportunity.

            He says about abolishing the caste system which can be done through the fusion of one caste with the caste. That is intermarriage, another way is inter dining having food together. I to agree with the Ambedkar the world is changing we talk of development and the development is not possible until or unless this caste is abolished from the society, a change in the mentality and thinking of the people must be changed.


Ambedkar, B R. “annihilation of caste.jat pat todak. Mandail: mahasratra goverment, 1936.


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